Lots of people are confused about whether you should capitalize “your” in a title. This is because they hear vague rules such as “only capitalize major words” or “don’t capitalize short words.”
Capitalization rules are actually a lot more specific and will vary somewhat depending on the style guide you’re using. Some styles will tell you to only capitalize the first letter of a title, thus applying “sentence case.” But many others require you to capitalize most letters, commonly known as “title case.”
So, do you capitalize “your” in a title? The short answer is yes, always, if you’re using title case. Below, we’ll explain why.
Which words do you capitalize in a title?
All major style guides, such as The Chicago Manual of Style or APA style, agree that you should always capitalize the following word types:
- Nouns (table, woman, book)
- Pronouns (you, my, hers)
- Adjectives (amazing, lovely, wet)
- Adverbs (slowly, often, fortunately)
- Verbs (be, stop, wander)
As you can see from the examples, these types of words can be either long or short. You’ll also find that they reveal important information about the subject of the article/paragraph. That’s why you hear the rule “capitalize all major words.”
Here are some examples from movie titles:
“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”
“The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”
“Life Is Beautiful”
What do you not capitalize in a title?
The major style guides all stipulate you should never capitalize the following types of words:
- Determiners (a, an, the)
- Prepositions with four letters or fewer (in, on, out)
- Coordinating conjunctions (so, but, yet, and, or)
Most of these words are only one to four letters long, hence the myth that no small words should be capitalized in a title.
However, some style guides specify that you should capitalize prepositions of five letters or longer (between, around, about, etc). The same goes for subordinating conjunctions (while, whereas, although, etc.).
Thus, it is correct to write “10 Things I Hate About You” if you’re using APA style. However, if you’re using Chicago, you must write “10 Things I Hate about You.”
You need to check the rules that apply to your own case.
Why do you capitalize “your” in a title?
Have you worked it out yet? The reason you should always capitalize “your” in a title is that it’s a possessive pronoun, so it falls into the list of five word types that must always be capitalized. The length of the word doesn’t matter!
The correct way to write the title of this Almodóvar movie
“And Your Mother Too”
And some incorrect ways
“And your Mother Too”
“And your Mother too”
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With a PhD in Languages, Literature & Cultural Studies, Eloise has a long background in language teaching which she brings to her work as an editor. When not poring over the words of others, she’s working on her epic fantasy novel, kicking bags at the gym, or roaming the beaches, hills and forests with her dog.